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Why get solar panels?

  • Generate free, green electricity
  • Reduce your electricity bill by up to 64%
  • Get paid for what you don't use

Can I save money using solar panels in Scotland?

Solar panels can cut Scottish homes’ electricity bills by 62%, on average 

Homeowners can save up to £6,000 with the Scotland Home Energy Loan

CARES provides funding for solar project planning to community organisations

If you’re a homeowner in Scotland, you can save money on your bills by generating your own electricity with solar panels.

That’s not a bad prospect given the current cost of living crisis, plus, you’ll be helping the environment by using more clean energy.

You might be worried that solar panels aren’t worth getting in Scotland because it’s not sunny enough, but that’s far from true. Yes, you might not generate as much electricity as someone in southern Italy, but you’ll still cut your electricity bills by more than half.

You’ll also be ahead of the curve. Solar Energy UK has predicted the country’s solar capacity will more than treble by 2030.

This might in part be because solar panel costs are coming down, but it’s also because the Scottish government has made it easy for people to get them.

We’ll walk you through all things solar panels in this article, including costs and savings, and the government grants and initiatives you can only find in Scotland.

You can also compare solar panel prices, with our help. Simply enter a few details and we’ll put you in touch with our expert installers, who’ll get back to you with free solar panel quotes for you to compare.

Where do you want to install solar panels?

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Can I save money using solar panels in Scotland?

The average three-bedroom home in Scotland can save £448 per year with solar panels, and cut their electricity bills by 62%.

So, whether you have solar panels in Edinburgh, Glasgow, or the Highlands, they’re more than worth it in Scotland.

You’ll be able to power half of your home’s electricity with solar panels, allowing you to sell the remaining solar energy to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee.

Plus, solar panels are easy to install in Scotland, since they typically don’t require planning permission.

How many solar panels do I need to power a house in Scotland?

The average three-bedroom house in Scotland needs around 10, 3.5kWh system solar panels. These will produce around 2,370 kilowatt hours a year.

Unfortunately, this amount of solar panels will only meet around 50% of your energy needs. This is because solar panels produce the most electricity in the middle of the day, when most people are out of the house.

You can earn money from the electricity you don’t use through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), or, you can invest in a solar battery to store electricity to use later.

When do you break even on solar panels in Scotland?

The average household will break even on solar panels in Scotland after 17 years.

This is slightly higher than the UK’s overall break-even solar panel figure – 13.1 years.

However, it still leaves you with at least a decade to enjoy the profit that comes with the free solar electricity your panels produce.

We’ve assumed you’ll get a solar array that provides you with enough electricity to power half of your home’s needs – for example, a 3.5 kW system would achieve this for the average three-bedroom house.

You can then sell your excess solar energy back to the grid, which will typically mean an overall saving of 62% on your electricity bills.

Here’s a look at energy bill savings, breakeven points, and earnings after you’ve broken even, based on the size of your solar panel system:

Solar panel system size

Average annual electricity usage

Average yearly savings

Breakeven point

Average earnings after 25 years

2.1 kWp

1,400 kWh


17 years


3.5 kWp

2,400 kWh


17 years


4.9 kWp

3,300 kWh


17 years


Do I need planning permission for solar panels in Scotland?

In most cases, you do not need planning permission to install solar panels in Scotland.

Solar panels under permitted development, as long as they don’t protrude more than a metre away from the roof, and aren’t installed higher than the highest point of the roof.

There are a few cases where you’ll need additional approval before installing solar panels:

  • You don’t own your property – you’ll need to ask for your landlord’s permission
  • You live in a listed building or conservation area– you need to get listed building consent or planning permission from your local authority

It’s always best to check what restrictions and regulations apply to your local area before installing solar panels. You can find more information on how to locate your local authority on the website.

Do solar panels work in Scottish weather?

Solar panels work well in Scottish weather, producing enough energy to power your home with free electricity around half the time.

A study by WWF Scotland found that since 2017, homes with solar panels have generated more than 100% of typical household electricity needs in seven different cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee.

A summer heatwave in 2018, for instance, broke Scottish solar power records in multiple places. Solar panels provided Aberdeen with 136% of its average household electricity demand, and provided Lerwick with 117%.

While they produce more electricity when the sun is shining, solar panels also work on cloudy days. They don’t require direct sunlight in order to generate electricity, which – given the weather of Scotland and the UK as a whole – is great news.

Will solar panels lower the value of my house in Scotland?

How solar panels affect the value of your house depends on who’s buying it.

However, in general, solar panels can increase the value of your property. This could be up to a 2% increase, according to a study by Solar Energy UK.

If it’s any reassurance, 65% of people would now buy a house with solar panels, according to our latest National Home Energy Survey.

How many people in Scotland have solar panels?

There are more than 148,000 homes with solar panels in Scotland, according to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

Solar panels in Scotland are rapidly rising in popularity, with the first six months of 2023 seeing 13,175 solar installations — a 29% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

In 2009, just 24 households in Scotland installed solar panels. We’ve come a long way from then.

57% of Scotland’s electricity was renewable in 2021, and we expect that number to rise in the future, as Scotland clearly has a long-term commitment to green energy.

How much do solar panels cost in Scotland?

House sizeNo. of panels neededCostTonnes of CO2 saved / yearSavings / yearYears to break even

1-2 bedrooms






3 bedrooms






4+ bedrooms






Solar panels cost £7,191 on average in Scotland for a 3.5 kW solar panel system, including installation.

Solar panels are continuing to fall in price, which is great news for the 69% of people who ranked cost as the most important factor when buying green in our latest National Home Energy Survey.

Finding a solar panel installer in Scotland

If you’re already convinced that solar power can help you save money and want to get a free quote from an installer, fill in this short form.

We’ll pass your details on to our network of qualified installers, who’ll be in touch shortly with free quotes for you to compare.

For more information, check out our handy guides to solar panel costs, the best solar panels, and the best solar panel installers.

However, if you’re still unsure and want to know how the government can help you pay for solar panels, read on.

Where do you want to install solar panels?

Get started

Can I get help paying for solar panels in Scotland?

Yes, there are a few government grants and initiatives in Scotland that can help you pay for solar panels.

They include the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan, the Warmer Homes Scotland Grant, and the ECO4 Scheme.

Most community organisations and charities can also receive funding for solar panels and other renewable energy sources with the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

We’ll go into more detail about each scheme in the following sections, but here’s an overview of what’s available:


What it's worth

Who is eligible

How to apply

Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan

Up to £7,500

Scotland residents only

Apply via the Home Energy Scotland website

Warmer Homes Scotland

Up to 100% of the costs

Energy-inefficient households on certain benefits, or with a member who is either over 75 years or has certain medical certificates

Apply via the Home Energy Scotland website

ECO4 Scotland

Up to 100% of the costs

Low-income, energy-inefficient households on certain benefits

Contact a participating energy supplier

Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES)

Up to £80,000 for community building projects

Community organisations and charities

Fill in an application form on the Local Energy Scotland website

The Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan

Home Energy Scotland Loan Flowchart

If you’re living in Scotland and think it’s time your home switched to solar power, the Scottish government is happy to lend a financial hand.

The Home Energy Scotland Loan is a scheme available to homeowners who want to make ‘energy improvements’ to their household. These improvements include:

• Heating systems, e.g. gas, oil, or LPG boilers

• Double glazing and secondary glazing

• Renewable energy systems, e.g. solar panels

• Energy storage systems, e.g. solar batteries

The maximum amount of money available for a solar panel installation loan is £7,500, which will cover the cost a typical 3.5 kWp solar PV system.

The loan is completely interest-free, and is repayable across five years (if you borrow less than £5,000) or 10 years (if you borrow £5,000 or more).

Read our complete guide to the Home Energy Scotland Loan for more information.

Who’s eligible?

All homeowners in Scotland are allowed to apply, and each applicant’s credit rating is assessed to determine if they are eligible. Please note that successful applicants have to pay an administrative fee, which is 1.5% of the total amount being borrowed.

The Scottish government suggests that you don’t start installing solar panels until you’ve officially received the loan offer in writing. If you start installing them beforehand, you won’t eligible for the loan.

If you receive a loan, you’ll be given up to six months to borrow the money and have the solar panels installed.

How to apply

To apply for the loan, you need to call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. You can also ask for a call back or for an email.

You’ll then be advised on which option is best for you. When you’ve made a decision, you’ll have to complete an online application form.

Warmer Homes Scotland

Warmer Homes Scotland provides funding for home improvements to make homes warmer and reduce energy bills. This includes funding for renewable technology such as solar panels.

It’s worth noting though that the scheme is more focused on home improvements such as heating and insulation, so getting approved to install solar panels through it might be tricky.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for a Warmer Homes Scotland grant, you must be a homeowner, or a tenant of a private-sector landlord, and have lived in the property for at least six months.

Your home also needs to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Property has a poor energy rating
  • Has a floor area of 230m2 or less
  • Meets Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 standards
  • Has a council tax band of A-F

Your household also needs to either have no central heating and include someone who is over 75, or include someone who has a DS1500 or BASRiS medical certificate, or someone who is on certain benefits.

You can find the full criteria on Home Energy Scotland’s page.

How to apply

To apply for Warmer Homes Scotland, you can call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282, or use their online tool.

The ECO4 Scheme

ECO4 is the fourth iteration of the Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO), and provides funding to help low-income households primarily for heating upgrades and insulation.

The scheme can also provide funding for solar panels if they are used to power an electrical heating system, such as a heat pump or an electric boiler.

Funding is available through ECO4 from July 2022 until March 2026.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for ECO4, your household income must be less than £31,000 a year, or you must be receiving certain benefits – you can find the full list on Ofgem’s website.

You can also become eligible if you are referred for the ECO4 scheme by your local authority, energy supplier, or doctor.

And, you need to live in a property that has an energy efficiency rating between D and G if you’re a homeowner. For rental properties or social housing, it needs to be between E and G.

How to apply

To apply for ECO4, you need to get in touch with one of the energy suppliers that is offering funding through the scheme. This doesn’t need to be your current supplier, and you can contact more than one.

Here’s a list of suppliers that you can contact about ECO4:

  • British Gas
  • E (Gas & Electricity) Ltd
  • E.ON Energy (including Npower)
  • Ecotricity
  • EDF
  • Octopus Energy
  • Outfox the Market
  • OVO (Including SSE Energy Services)
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy (formerly First Utility and formerly Hudson)
  • So Energy (Including ESB Energy)
  • The Co-operative Energy
  • The Utility Warehouse
  • Utilita Energy Ltd

You can find all their contact details on Ofgem’s website.

After getting in touch with a supplier, you’ll be asked to provide them with details on your income, any benefits you are on, and your home’s energy efficiency rating.

Community and Renewable Energy Scheme

The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) was set up to encourage local communities across Scotland to adopt more renewable energy sources, including solar panels.

It works by allocating funding for community organisations and charities, with different rounds of funding being released on a regular basis.

It can cover up to 80% of costs for projects on community buildings, and acts as a support network for communities to use for help with setting up renewable projects.

Visit Local Energy Scotland for more information on when new funding is allocated, and for details on how to apply.

Who’s eligible?

CARES funding is available to non-profit community organisations, faith groups, and charities. Applicants also need to be operating within a defined geographical area.

How to apply

To apply for CARES, you need to first go to their project portal. If you’re eligible, you’ll then need to complete an application form and indicate the technology you need funding for and submit quotes you’ve received from installers.

Want to get a better idea of what it’s like to own a set of solar panels? Check out our case study with Shirley Ward – a 73-year-old retired office worker, based in North Yorkshire. 

Shirley has a 2.4 kW solar array and a Solax battery, and managed to break even on the system in 10 years. Despite electricity prices increasing around the world, Shirley’s panels have brought her energy bills down to £15 a month, instead of £50. 

Check out the full interview with Shirley to learn more about solar panels. 

Next steps

Rest assured that solar panels work just fine in Scotland, and can cut your electricity bills by 62% on average.

You’ll typically breakeven on your purchase in 17 years through these savings, and earn around £4,841 over the course of your solar panels’ 25-year lifespan.

And don’t forget, there are several government grant and loan schemes available in Scotland to help you with the upfront costs of solar panels.

If you feel like you’re ready to get solar panels, but don’t know where to start, we can help. Enter a few details into our quotes form, and our network of trusted solar panel installers will be in touch with offers.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
Reviewed by:
Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.
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